Facebook for iPhone Update Adds Quick Links to Account, Privacy Settings

The latest update to the Facebook for iPhone app includes links to a user’s Account Settings, Privacy Settings, and the Help Center. The links open these areas of the Facebook web interface through the app’s internal web browser, and allow users to alter all of their sharing, security, and other settings. Having easy access a one’s mobile settings, such as the hours of the day during which you receive text messages from Facebook, will be important as users begin having their Facebook Messages routed to SMS.

Facebook released a significant upgrade to its iPhone app last week, which included Groups, Deals, and enhanced Places functionality, but which prevented users from uploading photos to a specific album. Version 3.3.2 fixes this bug, allowing users to click an ‘+’ button while viewing an existing album to add a photo to it.

Earlier this year, Facebook added a lock icon to the iPhone app’s status composer, allowing users to set the distribution parameter for that update. However, until now users had to access rudimentary privacy controls via m.facebook.com, or manually navigate to Facebook’s web interface using a mobile browser to alter the distribution of new or existing photos, change what parts of their profile are visible to who, or edit block lists. When Facebook updated its privacy controls in May, we said that offering these controls to mobile users was a crucial next step.

Now, where users previously saw a logout button in the top left of the app’s home page, they’ll see an “Account” button which reveals options to logout, or visit Account Settings, Privacy Settings, or the Help Center. Access to privacy controls should encourage users to share more frequently by restricting content to fewer people. Notification settings access will make it easier to quiet Facebook if a user is receiving unwanted mobile or email alerts.

Facebook’s new Messages product delivers email, Facebook Messages, Facebook Chat, and text messages to whichever channel a user is currently using, including their phone via SMS messages. However, it’s possible that users who’ve connected their mobile phone number to their Facebook account won’t be aware of the volume of SMS they’ll begin to receive, or the charges associated with these messages. Therefore, giving iPhone users quick access to their Account Settings->Mobile where they can turn off SMS from Facebook, alter which actions trigger SMS messages, or set a daily limit will be helpful for mitigating any ill will against Facebook stemming from the charges.

While the settings panels are only linked to and not full integrated into the application, they make Facebook for iPhone practically a standalone version of the site. For those who don’t often sit down with a computer to access Facebook, the update should lead to a safer, more customized experience.